First typhoon of 2012 due to hit Vietnam's south central coast

TN News

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This year's first typhoon on the East Sea will hit Vietnam's south central coast sometime this weekend, said the national weather forecast center.

Bui Minh Tang, director of the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, told the media on Thursday that the typhoon is moving at five kilometers per hour toward the south central coast, with wind speed between 62-74 km/h.

The typhoon was strengthened by a tropical low on Thursday morning. It was about 300 kilometers from Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan Provinces as of Friday afternoon.

Tang said the precise time and location of the typhoon's arrival in Vietnam could not be determined yet, but it would be between Saturday night and the end of Sunday, affecting the area stretching from Binh Dinh to Binh Thuan.

"The focus will be three provinces: Ninh Thuan, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen. When the typhoon lands, winds will reduce to level 7 [60 km/h]," he said.

High winds were blowing through the region on Friday afternoon.

A strong cold spell would make the typhoon more intense and heavy rainfall of between 50-200 milliliters is expected along the south central coast through Monday at least, the director said.

Nearly 227,300 fishermen working offshore on 46,753 boats have been informed of the imminent typhoon.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry also sent a statement to the Malaysian Embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia, asking them to offer refuge to 74 Vietnamese fishermen sailing in the area.

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